Is there Room for Socially Oriented Anti-Consumption? Conceptualization and Questions for the Development of the Field: An Abstract
Overall, present work provides support for the consideration of socially oriented anti-consumption (SOA) as particular manifestation of the wider phenomenon known as anti-consumption. Such concept has not been specifically acknowledged as separate field of research, maybe as a consequence of the existence of similar terms (i.e., ethical, political, sustainable, socially responsible consumption), which however, do have the same meaning. It is possible to infer some key differences between the extant terms and SOA. First, most of them are not exclusively focused on social concerns, but may consider environmental or animal welfare issues as well. Second, from these definitions it is not clear enough whether these consumer manifestations pertain to the consumption, the anti-consumption, or both paths of action (Bekin et al. 2007). This is important, since research suggests that anti-consumption is not the mere opposite of consumption, but may have different and unique antecedents (Chatzidakis and Lee 2013). In addition, these different terms have been used interchangeability rather frequently in the past literature (Szmigin et al. 2009), which makes it difficult to understand the differences between them.
The literature review also reveals different ways of understanding SOA behaviors. This is important, since the consideration of SOA in a strict—only the anti-consumption action is considered—vs. broad, considering not only the anti-consumption action but also encompasses each type of action performed to avoid the purchase and consumption of a certain product perceived as pervasive for society as a whole or some groups of individuals, has different implications. Studying SOA from a broad perspective allows a greater understanding of the lifestyles and consumption patterns developed by individuals engaged on such behaviors. On the other hand, specifically focusing on strict SOA behaviors is able to provide the unique antecedents of each analyzed behavior.
Current works also provide future venues of research, which comprise several aspects such as the conceptualization and measurement of SOA, the identification of different SOA agents (comparing between different groups of people), the analysis of different antecedents, the identification process of targets, and contexts that enhance or inhibit SOA engagement. Overall, there is room for achieving a more effective comprehension of SOA behaviors by delving into those elements and specially assessing whether its consequences are able to bring about the changes they pursue to the current society.
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